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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quiche Casserole

Apparently I have a bread fetish. I went to the store today and bought a loaf of bread, a bag of bagels and some wraps. But it doesn't end there. I came home and realized I had a baguette in my bread basket already. When I went to put it in the freezer, I was surprised to find a bag of bulky rolls and some onion rolls. I don't even remember buying those! Of course, it doesn't stop there. All year long I keep all my odds and ends bread pieces and make a killer stuffing for Thanksgiving. That's a whole lot of bread hanging around in my house....Now what to do with it.

Tonight I took the baguette and sliced it thin and lined a casserole dish with it. Bam, a crust for quiche. Since anything with eggs is a staple quick dinner for us in our house, I knew this would be a hit. I served it up with some yummy potatoes and those bagels. Success.

Quiche Casserole 
(serves 4)

1 thin baguette, sliced thinly
2 T olive oil
6 eggs
3/4 C milk
1 carrot, peeled and shredded
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 C spinach, chopped

1 C cheddar cheese, shredded
1/4 C Parmesan cheese, shredded
1/4 C fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t salt
pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a small glass casserole dish with 1 T olive oil. Make sure to get all up on the sides. Take the baguette slices and line the casserole dish with them - bottom and sides - not overlapping. Put in oven and bake for 10 minutes, until bread starts to brown. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat 1 T olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and garlic and saute for 5 minutes until carrots are soft. Toss in spinach and cook 1 more minute. Add in parsley and mix thoroughly, then remove from heat. In a large bowl whisk eggs until thoroughly mixed, add in milk and whisk quickly until well combined. Stir in cheeses, sauteed vegetable mixture, parsley, salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture into casserole dish and put back into the oven for 30 minutes, or until toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let sit on the counter for 5 to 10 minutes until it has cooled and set.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cauliflower Curry

I crave curry ever day. I love the smell of it. The warmth as it slides down my throat. The lingering flavor on my tongue. When I was pregnant with my oldest, I ate curried chicken several times a week. Oddly enough, my kids never really got into it. Until last night. My brother had given me some cauliflower, and even though it's not in season and I wouldn't normally buy it, I couldn't turn down a gift. Since cauliflower this time of year is bland, I knew I had to do something with it that would give it flavor and oomph. A quick perusal of my root veggies and spices, and I knew it was a curry night. The flavor of this curry was so good and mild that my oldest had two bowls of it - this NEVER happens.

Cauliflower Curry
serves 4

1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 onion, peeled & sliced
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 14 oz can coconut milk
1 4oz can tomato sauce
1/2 C stock/broth/water
1 T oil
1/2 t tumeric
1 1/2 T yellow curry (depending on how spicy you like it - this was just warm, but my curry is old)
salt & pepper
sour cream
brown rice

In a large deep pan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add potatoes and cauliflower and stir to thoroughly mix all veggies together. Keep cooking, stirring often, over medium heat just until potatoes start to brown a bit. Add in tumeric and curry and stir to coat everything. Let cook for 2-3 minutes to open up the full flavor of the spices. Add in coconut milk, tomato sauce and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and drop down to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir thoroughly before serving over brown rice with a dollop of sour cream. YUM!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Not Your Mama's No-Bakes

As I kid my favorite cookie ever was a no-bake. In fact, even as an adult, they are hands-down my favorite sweet treat. I hardly ever make them because they are so loaded with sugar, but a few times a year I bust out some peanut butter, chocolate and oats action. And now that I think about  it, these cookies must be where I got my obsession with all things chocolate and peanut butter - those two flavors are pure perfection on my taste buds.

That being said, this recipe stemmed from another recipe I saw the other day - kale chocolate clusters. I realized I had been missing out on a whole area of kale appreciation. I still have a few bags of frozen kale from last summer and I should use them up before my summer CSA starts up. Originally I was going to replicate these cluster cookies, but I didn't have dried cranberries. Then it came to me - No-Bakes!! Thus, my sneaky chef version of my favorite cookie, was born.

Not Your Mama's No-Bakes

1C white sugar
1 C dark brown sugar
1/2 C milk
1/2 C butter
3 T cocoa
1 t maple flavoring
2/3 C peanut butter
2 C quick-cooking oats
1/2 C frozen kale (mine had been boiled for 3 minutes then frozen)
1/2 C shredded coconut

In large pot melt butter with sugars, milk cocoa and maple flavoring. Whisk and bring to a boil. Boil this mixture hard for exactly two minutes, no longer! Remove from heat and stir in oats and peanut butter. Quickly process kale in food processor until minced. Mix into cookies with coconut until well incorporated. Drop onto wax paper and let harden. Devour.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have been craving curry since I went to Vermont and had Thai food. I didn't order the curry, and I regret that. Although my appetizer assortment was yum, I wish I had burned my mouth on some yummy spicy Masamam Curry. So tonight, curry it is. I love the aroma of all the fresh veggies in my kitchen, and the odor of curry powder mingled with coconut and fresh ginger. Delicious! I served this over rice - a perfect meal for a sunshower day.

(serves 6)

1 block extra firm tofu
2" fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
3 cloves garlic, sliced into matchsticks
2 T coconut oil
1 large red potato, cubed
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 pepper, chopped
1 large tomato, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch scallions, sliced into 1/2" pieces (whites minced)
1 T curry powder (this all varies w/ strength of powder and your preference)
1 14oz can coconut milk
1 C broth/water

Heat 1 T of coconut oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add in ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes, then add tofu. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Heat remaining 1 T coconut oil in same skillet over medium heat and add potatoes and carrots, stir to coat with oil. Cook 2 minutes then add 1/2 C broth/water and cover pan tightly. Turn heat to medium high and cook until most liquid is absorbed. Turn to medium low and add in onion, pepper and garlic and stir thoroughly. Cook for 2 minutes. Add curry powder and stir to coat all the veggies. Cook 2 more minutes. Add in coconut milk, 1/2 C broth/water and tomatoes, increasing heat until it comes to a boil and then cover and drop to a simmer. Cook 15 - 20 minutes. Serve over rice and sprinkle with lots of scallions.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Vegan Au Gratin

This recipe was birthed from having a jar of nutritional yeast cheese in my fridge and a mess of potatoes.  I've been toying with the idea of going vegan for the summer, like a cleanse, so in order to prep myself I knew I'd have to start throwing some recipes into my rotation now. As winter has come to a close, I've got to eat up all my root veggies and get my cupboards and fridge ready for summer greens, tomatoes, fennel and all those luscious fresh summer crops. This is definitely a keeper, and can more than likely be adapted to a summer salad if the nutritional cheese is thinned out without cornstarch. Any who, even if you don't eat vegan, don't be afraid of this luscious, decadent au gratin.

Nutritional Yeast Cheese
 1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 T flour
1 T corn starch
1/2 t mustard
1/2 t salt
1 T olive oil
1 C water

In a sauce pan add nutritional yeast, flour, corn starch, mustard, salt, olive oil and water and whisk together over medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Boil for 1 minute, not stirring, then remove from heat and add pepper to taste. Set aside.

Vegan Pesto

1/4 C basil, freshly chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 T nutritional yeast
2 T nuts (walnuts, cashews, pine nuts)
2 T olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a food processor adding more oil if necessary. Pesto is all about texture, so modify as needed.

Au Gratin
(serves 4-6)

4 red potatoes, sliced into thin discs
1 t salt
1/4 C pesto
1 C nutritional cheese
1 T olive oil

Coat glass pan with oil and heat oven to 400. Place thinly sliced potatoes in layers in the pan, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk pesto and cheese together, adding oil if necessary to thin the sauce. Spread evenly over potatoes. Cover dish with tinfoil and bake for 1 hour, or until potatoes are soft.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Breakfast for Dinner

Being in Montpelier over the weekend and eating at my favorite breakfast space - Kismet - has reignited my love of the simplicity of breakfast for dinner. The combination of eggs, toast and root veggies is like comfort food for me. It's special, warms my belly. The eggs benedict with tempeh bacon that I had Sunday morning is still resonating inside my taste buds. It was divine. I wait months and drive over states to indulge in Kismet's eggs benedict. Whenever I go out to breakfast, as long as they serve it, I will order eggs benedict because it's the one meal I won't make at home. Not that I can't, but won't. I reserve it for the specialness of going out to breakfast, which is hands-down my favorite meal to eat out. BUT, I do like the combination of a creamy sauce over eggs and toast, and will find ways to make eggs benedict type meals without actually making hollandaise or poaching my eggs. It's a fine line I walk, but my balance is solid.

Last night's meal was my post-Montpelier, post Kismet attempt to enjoy breakfast at home. I decided to make a yummy nutritional yeast cheese sauce (with plenty of extras for tonight's dinner!) and some delicious root veggies on the side. It's been a long winter of potatoes, beets, daikon and carrots, and I know that soon enough I'll be rolling in fresh greens, tomatoes and eggplant, so I will enjoy my farewell of those earth bound veggies by gobbling them up as often as possible. The only "issue" in eating seasonally is retraining your brain to not get bored with the seasonal vegetables, to know that your body will find the natural rhythm to enjoy what's on hand. Mine has definitely done that this winter with my root veggies, and although I'm excited for what spring & summer will bring, I don't want to rush out of the root cellar yet.

Eggs, NotCheeze & Root Veggies
(serves 2)

4 eggs
2 slices of bread, toasted
1/2 C nutritional yeast
1/4 C flour
2 T corn starch
1 t mustard
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
2 C water
1 large carrot, peeled, quartered and sliced
1 potato, peeled and cubed
1 onion, sliced thin
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 T coconut oil
4 T unsalted butter

In a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) heat coconut oil over medium heat and add in potatoes and carrots. Stir, but not too often, letting the veggies get nice and brown and caramelized. Add a few tablespoons of water and cover, allowing the veggies to soften. Add onions and peppers after about 8 minutes and stir again, leaving uncovered. Cook another 5 minutes then turn heat down to low and loosely cover. Let these gently cook while you make the rest of the food.

In a skillet over medium heat melt a tablespoon of butter until it starts to brown then gently drop in 4 eggs, careful to not break the yolks. Flip eggs once they are set and cook for 30 seconds on the other side. While these are cooking, in a sauce pan add nutritional yeast, flour, corn starch, mustard, salt, olive oil and water and whisk together over medium high heat until it starts to bubble. Boil for 1 minute, not stirring, then remove from heat and add pepper to taste.

To serve, place toast on plate and butter. Top with eggs and a generous portion of NotCheeze, then side with a large serving of root veggies, drizzled with a bit more cheese.